Two Triple Crowns for Yearlings Offered at Auction

Two Triple Crowns for Yearlings Offered at Auction

Two Triple Crowns for Yearlings Offered at Auction

And while there was no pent-up anguish this time around to vigorously stoke enthusiasm, Justify, ridden by the 52-year-old ironman Mike Smith, did not disappoint the crowd as he captured the 150th Belmont Stakes and become just the 13th Triple Crown victor. The Bob Baffert-trained colt entered both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes as the favorite, and came out on top each time and in muddy conditions. Justify, as with American Pharoah, stabled in Louisville between legs of the Triple Crown and followed a similar training schedule as his predeccesor. Turning for home with a date with immortality awaiting him in the winner's circle, Justify bounded home with Gronkowski (Lonhro ) giving belated chase to the wire.

American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015, becoming the first to achieve the thoroughbred-racing feat since Affirmed in 1978. Justify ended a three-year Triple Crown drought.

On Saturday, Justify did that, too, before a rapturous crowd of roughly 100,000, leading wire-to-wire to cover the 1½ -mile distance in 2:28.18 with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard. Restoring Hope will have a new jockey Saturday since Smith will be busy riding Justify.

"It never gets old", Baffert said, adding, "American Pharoah, he'll always be my first love". The 7-year-old bay horse won by 2 1/4 lengths and paid $9.10 to win - a generous price on a Baffert trainee. He quickly decided that in nearly 40 years as a jockey, he'd never ridden a more gifted 3-year-old.

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Trainer Todd Pletcher also had two horses in the field - 8-1 Vino Rosso and 30-1 Noble Indy.

With the human Rob Gronkowski in attendance, the horse Gronkowski put together the most unexpected performance of the race.

It was the first of five mounts Smith has on the 13-race card.

The 150th running of the Belmont Stakes saw the three-year-old beat out stiff competition in Gronkowski and Hofburg. Sloppy or fast track, Justify has proven he can win.

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